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Collaborative Research: Integration of Conceptual Learning throughout the Core Chemical Engineering Curriculum

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.336.1 - 22.336.6



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Paper Authors


Milo Koretsky Oregon State University

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Milo Koretsky is an Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at Oregon State University. He currently has research activity in areas related to thin film materials processing and engineering education. He is interested in integrating technology into effective educational practices and in promoting the use of higher level cognitive skills in engineering problem solving. Dr. Koretsky is a six-time Intel Faculty Fellow and has won awards for his work in engineering education at the university and national levels.

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David L. Silverstein University of Kentucky

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David L. Silverstein is the PJC Engineering Professor and an Associate Professor of Chemical & Materials Engineering at the University of Kentucky. He is assigned to the College of Engineering’s Extended Campus Programs at Paducah, Kentucky. Silverstein received his B.S.Ch.E. from the University of Alabama in 1992, his M.S. in Chemical Engineering from Vanderbilt University in 1994, and his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Vanderbilt in 1998. He is the 2007 recipient of the Raymond W. Fahien Award for Outstanding Teaching Effectiveness and Educational Scholarship.

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Ronald L. Miller Colorado School of Mines

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Dr. Ronald L. Miller is professor of chemical engineering and Director of the Center for Engineering Education at the Colorado School of Mines where he has taught chemical engineering and interdisciplinary courses and conducted engineering education research for the past 25 years. Dr. Miller has received three university-wide teaching awards and has held a Jenni teaching fellowship at CSM. He has received grant awards for education research from the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education FIPSE program, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Colorado Commission on Higher Education and has published widely in the engineering education literature. His research interests include measuring and repairing engineering student misconceptions in thermal and transport science.

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John L. Falconer P.E. University of Colorado, Boulder

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Collaborative Research: Integration of Conceptual Learning throughout the Core Chemical Engineering CurriculumAbstractThe goal of this proposed CCLI project is to create a community of learning within the disciplineof chemical engineering (ChE) focused on concept-based instruction. The project will developand promote the use of a cyber-enabled infrastructure, the AIChE Concept Warehouse, whichultimately could be used throughout the core ChE curriculum (Material and Energy Balances,Thermodynamics, Transport Phenomena, Kinetics and Reactor Design, and Materials Science).Conceptual questions, both as Concept Inventories and ConcepTests, will be available throughan interactive website maintained through the Education Division of the American Institute ofChemical Engineers (AIChE), the discipline’s major professional society. The overall objectiveis to lower the activation barrier for using conceptual instruction and assessment so that manymore chemical engineering faculty incorporate concept-based learning into their classes.This poster will present the preliminary design of the interactive AIChE Concept Warehousesoftware. An innovative approach is planned to allow conceptual questions to be developed,linked, and integrated on an item-based level. The software will allow interactive electronic use,as well as PowerPoint, Word, and pdf formats to be automatically generated so that conceptuallearning and evaluation can be incorporated into instruction in various forms: in-classConcepTests with student response (clickers, laptops, cell phones), concept inventories toevaluate student learning (or student preparation for a course), exam and homework problems. Akey element to this approach is to provide a context for conceptual learning that reflects therichly interconnected and interrelated knowledge structures of experts. The pedagogy includescross development and testing between items on a Concept Inventory and in ConcepTests.The first step in the design process is understanding user needs. The primary purpose of theconcept warehouse is as use for a curricular tool, however a secondary aspect is to provideresearchers a tool which they can use in order to perform educational research. Faculty withstrong backgrounds in ConcepTests and concept inventories were surveyed in order to compile alist of important features and to better understand the necessary ease of accessibility for thosefeatures. Relevant literature was explored to compile example questions and a list of questiontypes and forms of use. Websites and software that potential users may be familiar with weresurveyed to gather ideas for the user interface. The goal while surveying websites was tounderstand the flow of commonly used websites in order to incorporate that information into theAIChE Concept Warehouse. Once data were collected regarding the user needs an initial list offeatures and functionality was made and a draft website was constructed. The draft website wasthen used in focus group testing. Feedback from the focus group was then incorporated into therevised draft website.

Koretsky, M., & Silverstein, D. L., & Miller, R. L., & Falconer, J. L. (2011, June), Collaborative Research: Integration of Conceptual Learning throughout the Core Chemical Engineering Curriculum Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17617

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